At the age of thirty, my older brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer. By the time the doctors found it, the cancer had metastasized through his lymph system, and was on the verge of invading his entire body. Radical surgery involving the removal of the testicle and direct chemotherapy intervention, followed by massive chemo and radiation, was recommended. I did the NYC marathon that year with him in my heart and my head as I slogged my way to the finish line, then flew the next day to give him my medal as my belief in his strength and purpose. I knew he had much to offer this world and would not accept that he might not make it through this ordeal.
Prior to surgery, his doctors were candid with him about his modest chances for survival, and even more candid about the effects of the treatment, which he was told would almost certainly make him sterile. He and his wife were given the option of freezing his sperm in advance, which they did, but were never very comfortable with the concept. It was not real in their mind as being in line with what God might have in mind for them.
Thankfully, the procedure was successful, and he was well on his way back to health. After 5 years of clean scans, they were considering whether to use that frozen sperm, but their trepidations remained. At year 7, his wife told him that she had been feeling nauseous for days and wanted to see the doctor. To their amazement and shock, she was told that the reason for the nausea was the child growing in her womb.
The doctors were equally stunned, and very concerned about the health of the child because of the radical chemo/radiation treatments. They asked the doctors what the odds were that the child would be OK, and were honestly told that the medical profession had no idea since to their knowledge, no one who had gone through what my brother had, had ever conceived a child.
Because of the extreme uncertainty, the doctors recommended that they terminate the pregnancy. Not because they knew the child would be deformed, but because they thought it might be. There was no hesitation by my brother and his wife as they refused the doctor’s recommendation. Their faith led them to believe that everything would be OK, and they displayed what others thought was great courage to accept whatever the outcome would be, but what they simply believed was what God had in mind. Nine months later they were blessed with a beautiful, perfectly normal little girl.
12 months later they were back in the doctor’s office dealing with the impossible – an instant replay. Again, the doctors advised them that the odds against two similar favorable outcomes were astronomical, and recommended termination; but again they refused, and beat the long odds months later with the arrival of yet another beautiful little girl.
The older daughter just graduated from college and is embarking on a career in sales with a major company; the younger is a senior in college and preparing for a teaching career.
Faith mattered. They believed that God had a plan for them, provided them with access to medical skills that spared his life, and added to the conviction that God would be with them as they chose to bring not one, but two wonderful children into the world in spite of the risk and uncertainty. Maybe not quite in the miracle category, but close. The girls are the total focus of their lives and I am sure that they too are destined to do great things and that God indeed does have a plan.
Sharon – Ridgefield CT – Sept. 2015